At the DisCo Project, we naturally focus on the current, dynamic technology marketplace and the disruption it is continuing to cause to brick-and-mortar and other “legacy” industries. But disruptive innovation is not new and not unique to high-tech. It’s been around for hundreds of years and serves as a key driver of both economic growth and social evolution.
Let’s start with the poster child of disruption, buggy whip manufacturers. In the late 19th century there were some 13,000 companies involved in the horse-drawn carriage (buggy) industry. Most failed to recognize that the era of raw horsepower was giving way to that of internal combustion engines and the automobile. Buggy whips, once a proud, artisan craft, essentially became relegated to S&M purveyors. Read Theodore Levitt’s influential 1960 book Marketing Myopia for a more detailed look.